Monday, March 14, 2011

Loud in the Library

UCLA Student Alexandra Wallace is all over Facebook today, but not for all the reasons that the buxom co-ed who created an anti-Asian YouTube video might desire. Despite the recentness of the hullaballoo over the weekend, coverage of Wallace's three-minute rant on "Asians in the Library" now ranges from the local LA Weekly blog to the global Daily Mail. The racism of her comments about diverse campuses and her insensitivity toward tsunami victims were particularly egregious. The video was such a black eye for UCLA that the chancellor of the campus has already issued both a text press release and a video statement at "Chancellor Block appalled by student video disparaging Asians."

Although the original video has already been pulled down, it has been mirrored and reposted in a number of places, including here. Asian male students have posted responses like White Girls in the Library and this spoof that emphasize both Wallace's foolishness and their own interest in interracial sexual dynamics on campus. Wallace has apparently complained of losing her privacy now that she has been named, and ad feminem attacks like this text-based video probably explain the Chancellor's call for civility in response.

Of course, like all viral videos, it has already been autotuned and dance remixed. What surprises me is that little has been said about the fact that the UCLA library also played a role in another YouTube controversy when a student of color was tasered on cell phone camera by campus police.

(Thanks to my wonderful CAT 125 students Nikita Shah and Jonathan Hu for their insights on the controversy. I now have 200+ people keeping me current on Virtualpolitik.)

Update: One of the most watched videos thus far is this one that mocks Wallace with declarations that "we grow our food!" and "there's a reason that you outsource your jobs!" Also worthy of note is this response from a self-described "gay Asian Jew" at my own institution, UC San Diego. And, yes, the dance remixes will be unstoppable, as this example demonstrates.

More Updates: This video of a digital one-man band song to Wallace has already earned hundreds of thousands of views. It points people back to the original video, the crooner's a capella Mario song and Britney covery, and an iTunes version of his serenade available for purchase.

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